Monday, April 15, 2024

Westmark on Dragonbabies

I found out about the Dragonbabies podcast a few years ago. In it, two sisters review young adult fantasy and science fiction books they read as kids or teens after rereading them. 

It's fun to listen to, even though their childhood books and mine don't overlap all that much, since they're about the age of Daughter Number Three-Point-One. They started recording quite a number of years ago, so there's a big backlog that lets me skip books I haven't read and still have plenty of podcasts. As kids they weren't snobby about what they must have considered "old" books. They've covered a lot of works by Ursula K. LeGuin, Robin McKinley, Zilpha Keatley Snyder, and Tamora Pierce. They also have reviewed most of Lloyd Alexander's Prydain Chronicles.

Their new episodes for a while have been books I haven't read, but today I woke up to find that they finally posted a review of Alexander's Westmark, the first book of his Westmark trilogy. I had sent them an email suggesting those books not long after I discovered the podcast. I gather, from what they said at the end of today's episode, that I'm far from the only person to suggest the books.

Now I want them to do the other two books in the series because I've always wanted someone to put Westmark overall in conversation with Prydain, and they're the ones to do it! There's probably an article or a dissertation chapter in the children's literature field somewhere that I could find on this topic.

I didn't read the Westmark books as a kid, since the first book came out in 1981, late in my college years. I discovered them in the Washington, D.C., public library after the whole trilogy had been published, probably in 1985 or so. I was so psyched to see them because I loved Prydain so much. 

It's hard to remember, but I think I was a bit taken aback by the direction the books take, relative to classic fantasy, the first time I read them. But I got used to it and at some point began to realize it was a better take than the usual "great man pulls the sword from wherever and is crowned the one and only" (oops, spoiler alert).

I'm very happy the Dragonbabies women love them too.


Jean said...

Hey, I also listen to Dragonbabies! Their love for Diana Wynne Jones makes me very fond of them. :)

Daughter Number Three said...

I first heard about it because one of the hosts is the daughter-in-law of a friend of mine. Small podcast world!

Jean said...

Well hey, that is really fun!